Is wearing two or more masks effective?
Some individuals have begun wearing two or more face masks with the new COVID-19 situation in Sri Lanka.
How successful is it to wear several masks at once? Dr Mahen Kotelawala, a specialist in microbiology and infection control at the Kandy National Hospital answered this, and said that there is no need to wear two or more masks at the same time.
"A mask has two functions. When considering its filtering function, that particular function will work despite the number of masks worn by a person. However, the main issue that people should be concerned about is the fitting function. We cannot expect several masks to fit over the nose-mouth area at the same time. If a mask fulfils both these functions, a good quality disposable mask is all the protection you need." Dr Kotelawala explained.
He emphasised wearing one proper mask correctly is sufficient.
When inquired if putting on several face masks can affect the lungs, the doctor said that there is still no evidence that it affects the health of the body, however, some people might struggle in attempting to inhale through several membranes.
At the same time, Dr Kotelawala mentioned that it is not helpful to wear face masks made of cloth-like materials, adding that drops containing the virus could enter the body through such masks made with woven material.
The doctor pointed out that the number of people going out of the house should be minimised and only those with emergency needs can head out, with the proper face mask on.
Moreover, the Secretary of the Government Medical Officers' Association, Dr Senal Fernando said that the World Health Organisation has not made such a recommendation to wear several masks at the same time.
The doctor added that some may experience breathing difficulties by wearing face masks.